Another Monday, and that means another week of baseball is upon us. That also means that it's once again time for us at EOB to tell you what's going to happen before it happens. Yes, it's the Eye On Baseball Weekly Predictions. Guaranteed to almost certainly be incorrect! Onward ...
1. The Rangers will increase their lead in the AL West.
Texas enters play Monday with a slim one-game lead over the Athletics in the AL West. That lead will grow this week, thanks to an accommodating schedule: the Rangers visit the Astros on Monday and finish the week with two against the Brewers and three against the Mariners at home. Taking the long view, the Rangers don't play a winning team again until they visit Oakland on Sept. 2. As well, Texas this week will get two starts from ace Yu Darvish.
2. The Yankees will retain the EOB Heavyweight Championship against the Angels but then lose it to the Red Sox.
As you are no doubt aware, the Yankees over the weekend ripped the EOB Heavyweight belt and title from the clutches of the Tigers. Their first title defense comes in a four-game home set against the Angels. In order to lose the belt in four-game set, the Yankees, per our inviolable rules, must lose three. Since the Angels aren't very good, it says here that that's not going to happen. Over the weekend, though, the Yanks pay a visit to Fenway for a three-game set against the Red Sox. That's when the belt will change hands.
3. The NL will end the week without a 30-homer hitter.
Over in the AL, they presently have three 30-homer guys, led by, of course, Chris Davis and his 42 spanks. In the NL, meanwhile, Pedro Alvarez leads the fray with 28 homers. Well, it's going to be at least another week before any NL hitter reaches the 30-homer threshhold. In part that's because Alvarez and the Pirates will spend the first three games of the week facing the Cardinals, whose staff has given up the fewest homers in the NL.
4. A-Rod will homer or double in Fenway.
Not exactly bold stuff, but in the three-game set in Boston, A-Rod will hit the ball out of the park or record a two-bagger. Rodriguez looked good at the plate against Justin Verlander over the weekend, and Fenway, of course, is an accommodating environment for right-handed fly-ball hitters like A-Rod. He'll also get to face a lefty in the series opener in Felix Doubront. Provided A-Rod is in the lineup, of course.
5. The Royals will be alone in second place by the end of the week.
The surging Royals have gone 18-5 since the All-Star break, and presently they find themselves just 1/2 game behind the second-place Indians in the AL Central. The schedule in the week to come is a mixed bag for KC, as they open with three at home against the lowly Marlins but finish up with an epic five-gamer in Detroit. As for the Indians, it's also good and bad, as they'll open the week in Minnesota but finish it up in Oakland. In the end, though, we'll take the hot hand and say the Royals make up at least a full game in the standings and enter next week in second place all by their lonesome.
EOB Predictions Tally: A strong 3-for-4 showing from the breathtakingly debonair Mike Axisa brings our season-long mark to 27-for-56 (.482). Look out, .500 mark!